GVSU women's tennis clinches top seed in GLIAC tournament
Strong split squad performance leads Lakers to GLIAC wins
The Grand Valley State women’s tennis team was on the road this weekend in a few different places thanks to a schedule that required a split squad performance. Some Lakers took part in the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Invitational, while others played Walsh (3-7, 3-7 GLIAC) on Saturday and Ashland (2-8, 2-8 GLIAC) on Sunday.
Although head coach John Black didn’t travel with the team due to an illness, the Lakers (11-0, 10-0 GLIAC) took care of business. They beat Walsh 7-2 and Ashland 9-0 to clinch the top seed in the 2015 GLIAC Tournament. GVSU also had a good showing in Wisconsin.
The starting lineup traveled to Ohio to play the two GLIAC games, while the rest of the players went to Wisconsin to play the tour games.
Tour games don’t count toward GLIAC competition, and serve as individual accomplishments.
The action started on Friday in Wisconsin. Sam Schrepferman (No. 1 seed draw), Nicole Heiniger (No. 2 seed draw), Katarina Samardzija (No. 3 seed draw), Calla Ramont (No. 4 seed draw) and Courtney Lang (No. 5 seed draw) all took part in the invitational.
Schrepferman lost in the first round to Olivet Nazarene’s Priscila Nunez 6-0, 6-3. She was put into consolation play, and won the consolation final against Cardinal Stritch’s Volvy Boilevin 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-8).
Heiniger also made it to the consolation final for the No. 2 seed, but lost to Olivet Nazarene’s Viktoria Monakhova 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.
Samardzija and Ramont both made it to the third place rounds in their respective draws. Samardzija defeated Cardinal Stritch’s Jitsupa Sirinit 6-1, 6-2, while Ramont lost to Olivet Nazarene’s Seraphine Buchmann 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-4).
“It wasn’t as successful as we would’ve liked it to be, but we all had some tough matches and we fought hard the whole tournament,” Samardzija said.
Lang was the only Laker to win in the finals of a draw. She won in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, and then defeated Olivet Nazarene’s Mikaela Coose 6-2, 6-4.
In doubles play, the Lakers took part in the No. 1 and No. 2 seed draws. In the No. 1 seed, Schrepferman and Samardzija made it to the third place round, where they were defeated by Olivet Nazarene’s Buchmann and Nunez 8-6.
In the No. 2 seed draw, Heiniger and Ramont made it to the consolation final, but were defeated by Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Ashley Miller and Erika Williams 8-3.
Samardzija was disappointed the entire team was unable to make the trip, but thought the bottom half of the lineup held their own in Wisconsin.
“I think even though we were a split squad, we were able to stay close really well, and we could hear each other from across the courts cheering for each other, and still had a really close dynamic even though all of us weren’t together,” she said.
As that tournament wrapped up Saturday, the starting squad took on Walsh a few states to the east in Canton, Ohio.
The only two losses of the day came from the No. 1 seed Abby Perkins in singles and the No. 1 seed doubles pairing of Rachel Sumner and Aimee Moccia. Perkins lost to Walsh’s Sofya Logonuva 6-1, 6-2.
Sumner and Moccia lost to Walsh’s No. 1 seed pairing of Logonuva and Daria Bondareva 8-4.
Beside that, the Lakers cruised for most of the day. In their seven victories of the day, they allowed one point or fewer in seven of the sets. The 7-2 victory is the eighth time the Lakers have held their opponent to two points or fewer.
“We play every team the same way,” Moccia said. “We play some good teams, and maybe some teams who aren’t as good, but we try hard and don’t let up no matter who we’re playing.”
GVSU played Ashland on Sunday, and the Lakers again had no trouble, posting their second shutout of the year in the 9-0 win.
In doubles, the Lakers got the sweep with ease. Ashland failed to win more than three games in any doubles match.
In singles, Ashland failed to score more than two points in any set against the Lakers.
GVSU has not allowed more than three points in a match all season. The only two teams to score three points against the Lakers are Northwood and Tiffin.
Although the Lakers played two struggling GLIAC opponents this weekend, it’s clear they’ve moved from a relative unknown in August to the GLIAC title favorite as the only unbeaten team in the conference.
“We played really well,” Black said. “After Ashland now, it’s time to worry about Ferris.”
GVSU concludes the regular season this Thursday against Ferris State at home, where they’ll try to finish the season undefeated.
“That’d be awesome, having a whole new team, and just doing it as sophomores would be incredible, and would make us work that much harder to do better at the GLIAC tournament. Right now, we’re just preparing to play our best on Thursday,” Moccia said.